Letters to the editor

Nov. 05, 2013 @ 12:50 PM

Teacher supporters, help

People say that teaching is “the hardest job you’ll ever love” and I have found that to be true.  I care deeply about the students and families I serve, and spend countless unpaid hours after school, on weekends and over holidays, planning, grading and preparing for school.  All of this I do willingly, because I am passionate about teaching.

However, I cannot afford to live on my teaching salary.  North Carolina teacher pay is ranked 46th in the nation and is $10,000 less than the national average.  As a second-year teacher, my state salary is $30,800.  I will get a $420 raise in my sixth year (less than $40 extra each month before taxes).   I don’t have a smart phone, cable TV or a car payment, because I cannot afford them.  I don’t have the money to replace my 21-year-old car which literally has pieces falling off of it, so I humbly asked friends and family for help with a crowd-fundraiser: www.gofundme.com/teacher

I chose my job for the love of it, not the money, but I still deserve a salary that is livable.  We cannot expect an educated, capable future work force if we do not invest in education today.  We need to pay enough money to hire and keep the best teachers.  Supporters, please call and write North Carolina legislators and demand that action be taken to raise teacher pay.  We need your help!

Lisa Gerardi

Durham

Why Monday failed

I’ve walked on Moral Mondays, I’ve worn red on Wednesdays and I walked in to school on Monday.  My story is very similar to thousands you’ve heard before: I’m a public school teacher and I’m frustrated. 

However, as frustrated as I am with lawmakers, I’m more frustrated with the state of the teacher movement (or lack thereof).

Monday morning I heard the same frustrations, the same speeches and the same rhetorical devices that have been used for the past year.  Litanies of “Forward together,” “This is our state,” and others. Formulaic, repetitive and quickly becoming meaningless. 

Like the Occupy movement, we have numbers but lack clear goals and possible solutions.  Monday morning failed because it only provided more of the same.   I get it, the public gets it, the lawmakers get it: We’re mad.  Now is the time for noticeable action, and Monday morning falls far short. 

But when it comes to direction and real solutions, few have them and fewer support them.  The complaint that is constantly restated is low funding for teachers, technology, books, etc.  We need more money from our government. 

The solution is simple.  No one supports it and none will campaign it, but we need new taxes.  If you want good teachers you have to pay for them.  

And until we stop relying on the same hackneyed litanies of the past year, nothing will change, schools will suffer, and I will remain just like all the other teachers in the state: frustrated. 

William Tolbert

Durham School of the Arts

Parties share shutdown blame

It is obvious that James Guseh is a progressive who continually writes letters using name calling (Oct. 8) and continually repeated erroneous statements (Nov. 5) in the hopes that repeating them will make them seem valid.  These are two common methods progressives employ. 

In his Nov. 5 letter he blames the recent government shutdown and resulting problems solely on Republicans.  That is incorrect, as any honest evaluation would conclude.  The Republicans agreed to give the Democrats everything they wanted except they wanted to negotiate on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Democrats would not do that -- hence, the shutdown.  The truth, then, is that the shutdown can be blamed on both Republicans and Democrats.  There is no other fair and honest interpretation. 

Also, it should be noted that the problems associated with the shutdown that Mr.

Guseh thinks were so bad were minor in comparison to those that we have seen and will see with the implementation of the ACA.  As we now know, millions of Americans, contrary to the president’s promise, will lose their present coverage and/or have to pay more for medical insurance.  This is by far the biggest domestic blunder by the government in my lifetime!

Dennis House

Durham